Laser Eye Surgery (PRK or
Several times per day, our offices in Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach
or Ladysmith receive inquiries about the new laser eye surgery
for nearsightedness; Photo Refractive Keratectomy (PRK), or
Laser Assisted in-situ Keratomileusis (LASIK). We have been
involved in the co-management of this surgery for over eleven
years now and a growing number of our patients have had this
procedure performed. While this type of laser surgery is not
available in Nanaimo, we work with several laser centres in
Vancouver and Victoria. Pre-operative assessments are performed
by our doctors, as are the post-operative follow up exams.
Most patients need to be seen an average of seven times over
the first year following surgery. While correction for farsightedness
is now in the developmental stage, the correction of nearsightedness
has been producing excellent results!
Who is the ideal candidate for PRK? The profile of patients
undergoing PRK has changed over the past six years. In reviewing
the last forty patients whom we have co-managed, certain
trends have emerged.
The average age of these patients is forty-two. They range
in age from 19 to 68. Nearly all patients have been very
active and recreation-oriented. They are more concerned with
having clear distance vision than near vision and do not
mind the idea of having to wear reading glasses at some point
in their lives.
Though early PRK patients tended to have quite strong prescriptions,
lately we have seen more people with mild and medium prescriptions
having the procedure done. Initial interest in PRK came almost
exclusively from nearsighted individuals, in contrast to
current interest, coming equally from both near- and far-sighted
persons. Those early patients also tended to have a high
level of disposable income, while today’s patients
cover a much broader spectrum: people seem willing to make
sacrifices elsewhere in order to have PRK.
Patient interest has heightened in the past few years, as
more and more people hear about PRK and LASIK, or know someone
personally who has undergone the procedure. PRK and LASIK
are better accepted by the general public following recent
media attention and frequent information seminars sponsored
by laser centres.
As to the question, "Who
is right for PRK?", our
practice has discovered that nearly anyone, regardless of
age, prescription , or income level, can be considered a